Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places
A suburban tiger cat named Tabitha and a rainforest elephant named Fritz swap places—and families—via “Lair-bnb,” then update each other on their respective adventures. Initially, Fritz likes hanging with Tabitha’s “little human” and eating on demand in the kitchen—a “room just
for food.” Tabitha, meanwhile, meets some big cats from her extended family and gets in touch with her inner cheetah (she signs her message, “Feeling fierce”). But new social norms slowly prove too hard an adjustment: Tabitha horrifies her vegetarian host family by eating mouse pizza, and Fritz discovers that front-lawn dust baths are definitely frowned upon. But while they agree to cut their visits short, the denouements prove that their experiences—ups and downs—were all worthwhile. Tabitha and Fritz are pretty much two of a kind, but debut author Frawley livens their epistolary exchanges with wordplay and knowing phrases (an enormous snake “does NOT play well with others”). She gets a big assist from Stansfield (Poems Out Loud!
), whose bright pastel settings, vivid expressions, and large cast of high-spirited supporting characters pull readers through the story. Ages 2–7. Author’s agent: Curtis Russell, P.S. Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Charlie Bowden, Pickled Ink. (Jan.)